Interview with Sarah Wisseman

How did you become a writer?
My parents read to me when I was very little, and my father wrote two unpublished mysteries after he retired. My university job has always required writing, but I wrote mostly non-fiction until about 1998.
What is your background?
I grew up in Evanston, IL and Weston, MA. Since college, I have worked as a museum curator, database manager, conservation lab assistant, field archaeologist, archaeological scientist, cook on an archaeological dig, and dorm mother. I majored in Anthropology as an undergraduate, and that’s when I fell in love with archaeology and museum work.
Your books are about archaeology and museums. Do you have experience in those areas?
Yes. I’ve been on archaeological excavations in Israel, Italy, North Carolina, and Nevada. My museum experience began in college when I took a job as a museum guard at the Peabody Museum in Cambridge, Mass. Since then I have worked in five other museums in four different cities in registration, conservation, research, curation, tour-guiding, fund-raising, and database management.
How did you become an archaeologist?
During my freshman year in college, a friend handed me a brochure about a summer archaeology program in Israel. I signed up and it changed my life. I went back for a junior year abroad, living in Tel Aviv and digging in the dessert around Beersheva and the Dead Sea area. I completed my graduate work (M.A. and Ph.D) at Bryn Mawr College in Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology.
Have you published other books?
Yes. Five books of non-fiction on ancient Greek vases, Greek archaeology, scientific methods in archaeology, and Egyptian mummies.
Are any of your stories based on real life?
Yes, Bound for Eternity. At the University of Illinois, my colleagues and I conducted an investigation of an Egyptian mummy using X-ray, CT scanning, and other non-destructive analyses. I wrote about our results in several technical articles and then in a book for the general public called The Virtual Mummy which was published by the University of Illinois Press in 2003. The murder mystery grew out of that experience (of writing the non-fiction book).
Describe your desk
I have a bulletin board with pictures of my setting and characters to get me going. Also maps of Italy and Florence, the city I am currently describing. There are places for my coffee cup (essential), a small fan, and a picture of my daughter smiling at me.
What's the story behind your latest book?
"Catacomb" is based on the premise that there is a cache of Nazi-looted art from World War II somewhere under Rome. Flora Garibaldi and her policeman boyfriend join an international team of curators, police, art historians, and others to narrow down where the art could be and who it really belongs to.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I am both a traditionally published and an indie author. I've worked with one large press (who discontinued their mystery line after "Burnt Siena" was published) and a small press I am very happy with: WingsePress. My first book, "Bound for Eternity" was self-published (after I approached over 60 agents and editors) to be a companion to the non-fiction book "The Virtual Mummy."
Published 2017-04-11.
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Books by This Author

Good for What Ails You
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 7,380. Language: English. Published: September 12, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Historical
Ben Keck and his girlfriend Anna seek for answers when a friend drops dead during a speakeasy raid in 1920s Big Grove, Illinois. Did Carley consume toxic bootleg liquor or was she deliberately poisoned by someone else?
Death on Display
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,080. Language: English. Published: September 1, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Police Procedural
An archaeologist and physician recreate an Egyptian mummy using a modern cadaver and ancient embalming methods. Then they put the finished mummy on display at an international conference reception...what could possibly go wrong?
Malice Archaeological
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 6,430. Language: English. Published: April 9, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths
Cathy loves everything Italian, but working on an archaeological dig in the Tuscan hills turns out to be more stressful than she’d imagined. Close quarters and professional jealousies cause friction among her fellow students, and then a harmless prank turns dangerous when forged ceramics appear in one of the trenches.
Bound for Eternity
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 72,500. Language: English. Published: June 5, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
Disappearing artifacts, jealous colleagues, and dead bodies—who says a museum curator’s job is easy? Archaeologist Lisa Donahue discovers that an Egyptian mummy holds the clues to two murders in her Boston Museum.